Teenager joins cast of movie challenging diversity in swimming

Jones Kamil with mentor Michael Wallace and Jones' sister Amber. 

Jones Kamil with mentor Michael Wallace and Jones' sister Amber. - Credit: Andrea Kamil

A teenager from St Albans is acting in a film which aims to promote the issue of diversity in swimming.

Blacks Can't Swim: Rewind - which is being filmed now for a summer release - aims to break down some of the issues about swimming among black and Asian people.

Sport England highlights that 95 per cent of black adults, and 80 per cent of black children in this country do not swim, and the movie wants to change those statistics by asking parents to explain the impact not swimming in their childhood had in their adult lives.

Jones Kamil, 14, who attends Verulam School, appears in the film: "People think black people cannot swim. Everyone can and should learn water skills and water safety.

"Swimming is a vital life skill. I was taught to swim from age five. I am gassed to be involved in this film. I am excited about the opportunities it might open up for me."

Ed Accura, producer of Blacks Can’t Swim and co-founder of the Black Swimming Association, has funded this project himself and it was born out of his lived experience. 

He said: "I am 55 and myself learned to swim in the last year. My mum thought water safety was really important. Her idea of water safety was saying 'Stay away from the water!'"

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Ed grew up in Ghana and when one of his friends had a pool party for their birthday, he wasn't allowed to go: "Mum said to focus on my education and that I could learn to swim when I was older.

"You look at the statistics and they are poor. We are changing the narrative through the work we are doing."

The Black Swimming Association (BSA)  is a non-profit organisation setup to highlight the importance of learning to swim as an essential and invaluable life saving skill; educate the black community on water safety, life-saving and drowning prevention measures and collaborate with other swimming charities and national governing bodies to make aquatics more accessible to the black and ethnic minority communities by inspiring and facilitating participation and inclusion for all.

Kickoff@3 co-founder Michael Wallace, who volunteers with young people from diverse communities said this is a problem that needs to be spoken more about in our local community: "This is a great opportunity for Jones to be involved in this film. It is good that other young people are being heard and can help local youngsters to overcome perceived barriers to swimming and stigma through conversations."

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